Turning Printables Into Physical Products with Print-on-DemandTurning Printables Into Physical Products with Print-on-Demand
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Turning Printables Into Physical Products with Print-on-Demand

Introduction

Beyond digital downloads, physical print-on-demand (POD) allows creators to effortlessly produce physical products showcasing artwork. Your designs can be printed on t-shirts, decor, apparel, paper goods and more without upfront inventory.

This comprehensive guide covers unlocking the power of POD to transform printable designs into tangible goods. We’ll explore:

  • Suitable printable categories for POD products
  • Finding the right POD manufacturing partners
  • Preparing and formatting printable artwork for production
  • Defining profitable pricing for physical goods
  • Automating order processing and fulfillment
  • Managing customer shipping and logistics
  • Driving traffic and sales to POD offerings
  • Expanding into diverse on-demand products over time
  • Fulfilling one-off custom POD orders

Follow these tips to expand printables into supplemental POD income streams while delighting customers with products featuring original art. Let’s dive in!

Print Categories Ideal for POD

POD shines for customizable art translated to:

Apparel

T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, canvas shoes featuring original graphics, patterns and motifs.

Wall Décor

Framed prints, tapestries, canvases, posters showcasing paintings, drawings and designs.

Stationery

Spiral notebooks, journals, planners, greeting cards decorated with unique prints.

Home Goods

Pillows, mugs, shower curtains, phone cases spotlighting artwork and scenes.

Paper Goods

Artistic invitations, stickers, notecards, bookmarks, calendars etc.

Kids Products

Onesies, backpacks, growth charts, toys with cute illustrations and characters.

Choosing the Right POD Company

Vet manufacturing partners on:

Print Quality

Request samples to inspect reproduction accuracy on fabrics, materials and products.

Integrations

Smooth third-party platform selling integrations like Shopify simplify workflow.

Product Selection

Diverse product lines enable testing to identify top sellers.

Print Locations

Global print facilities reduce customer shipping costs and delays.

Order Histories and Analytics

Robust reporting on past orders, products and designs provides insights.

Responsiveness

Quick customer service response times and production speed.

Costs

Compare base unit costs plus margins and potential revenue shares.

Prepping Artwork for POD Production

Format files for optimal reproduction:

Maximize Resolution

Use high resolution 300+ DPI source files like PDFs for sharpness.

Color Matching

Output CMYK files when possible vs RGB for accurate color reproduction.

Dimensions

Size for each product type like standard canvas ratios, shirt sizes etc.

Guideline Overlays

Use POD vendor templates with die lines and safe zones for positioning.

Proofs and Samples

Request test prints on actual materials before major production.

Material Limitations

Understand limitations of fabrics, ceramics and surfaces used.

Pricing Physical Printables Profitably

Account for increased costs in pricing:

Product Costs

Factor in base print vendor unit costs for each product type ordered.

Materials Premium

Charge more for high-end finishes like framed glass vs budget options.

Volume Discounts

Offer decreasing per unit prices as purchase quantities increase.

Shipping Costs

Consider shipping into product cost-plus pricing strategies.

Platform Commissions

Account for retail marketplace commissions and transaction fees.

Membership Discounts

Provide subscription buyers discounted pricing to incentivize multi-order loyalty.

Automating Order Processing

Streamline operational workflow through automation:

POD Integration

Connect printing platforms to storefronts like Shopify for automatic order routing and status updates.

Batch Processing

Queue multiple received orders before triggering print batches for efficiency.

Order Confirmations

Send automatic order confirmations detailing creation and delivery timelines.

Shipping Notifications

Sync shipment tracking IDs automatically from printing vendor when items ship.

Digital Asset Management

Maintain centralized design libraries making artwork easily discoverable for reordering.

Payment Deposits

Automatically capture partial deposits upfront before production begins.

Managing Shipping and Logistics

Balance quality and convenience:

Carrier Selection

Offer affordable USPS options along with premium shipping for faster delivery.

Packaging

Use custom branded packing like tissue paper and thank you notes for unboxing experience.

Return Address

Ship from addresses close to customers rather than just your HQ to shorten transit times.

Insured Shipments

Insure high-value items against damage or loss automatically based on price thresholds.

Rework Policy

Replace immediately if damage does occur. Absorb costs as customer retention investment.

International Shipping

Simplify customs forms. Consider distributed global printing to serve regions locally.

Promoting and Selling POD Offerings

Market just like other printables:

Social Media

Organically showcase new POD products launching in dedicated posts and stories.

Influencer Marketing

Gift POD products to influencers related to your niche like crafting and home decor bloggers.

Pinterest

Pin lifestyle scene images featuring your POD goods in use attractively.

Retargeting Ads

Remarket to website visitors who browsed specific POD items.

Improved Website Photography

Invest in appealing visual ecommerce product photography for your POD lineup.

Smart Product Listing Copy

Clearly explain POD process, benefits, quality, and care instructions.

Diversifying Through New POD Products

Expand offerings over time:

Seasonal Selections

Release timely designs around holidays, events and cultural moments.

Collections

Group products into distinct lines around artistic styles and branding.

Product Experiments

Test lower volume runs of new products to validate demand before bigger investments.

Data-Driven Decisions

Use analytics and sales data to double down on proven top sellers.

Market Research Surveys

Ask followers for feedback on what products they would purchase.

Trend Analysis

Watch trend forecasting reports to ride rising product and style opportunities.

Fulfilling Custom One-Off POD Orders

Provide personalized service:

Customization Options

Offer tailored text, patterns and photo uploads users preview digitally before POD production.

Limited Edition OC

List truly scarce one-of-a-kind POD novelty items like signed canvases.

Rush Orders

Charge premiums for expedited production and shipping on tight deadlines.

Volume Requirements

Only produce ultra-custom one-offs above certain order minimums to ensure profitability.

Upsells During Ordering

Suggest complementary add-ons like gift wrapping and rush processing during checkout.

Manage Expectations

Set proper expectations around production time and variability for highly customized requests.

Conclusion

POD empowers creators to expand printable artwork into physical product sales. Choose manufacturing partners strategically. Automate order routing and logistics. Promote smartly and diversify offerings over time based on analytics. With the right workflow in place, physical print-on-demand goods can become lucrative additions to your digital printable shop.

FAQ: Turning Printables Into Physical Products with Print-on-Demand

General Questions

Q1: What is print-on-demand (POD)?

A1: Print-on-demand is a service that allows creators to produce physical products showcasing their artwork without upfront inventory. Designs can be printed on various items such as t-shirts, home decor, stationery, and more.

Q2: Why should I consider turning my printables into physical products?

A2: Expanding into physical products can increase your revenue streams, attract a broader audience, and provide more ways for customers to enjoy your artwork.


Print Categories Ideal for POD

Q3: What types of printables are suitable for POD products?

A3: Suitable categories include:

  • Apparel: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and shoes.
  • Wall Décor: Framed prints, canvases, posters.
  • Stationery: Notebooks, journals, greeting cards.
  • Home Goods: Pillows, mugs, shower curtains.
  • Paper Goods: Invitations, stickers, bookmarks, calendars.
  • Kids Products: Onesies, backpacks, toys.

Choosing the Right POD Company

Q4: What should I consider when selecting a POD partner?

A4: Look for:

  • Print Quality: Request samples to inspect quality.
  • Integrations: Ensure smooth integration with platforms like Shopify.
  • Product Selection: A wide variety of product options.
  • Print Locations: Global facilities to reduce shipping costs.
  • Order Histories and Analytics: Detailed reporting capabilities.
  • Responsiveness: Quick customer service and production speed.
  • Costs: Competitive pricing and favorable margins.

Prepping Artwork for POD Production

Q5: How should I prepare my artwork for POD?

A5: Follow these guidelines:

  • Maximize Resolution: Use high-resolution (300+ DPI) files.
  • Color Matching: Use CMYK files for accurate color reproduction.
  • Dimensions: Size artwork appropriately for each product.
  • Guideline Overlays: Utilize vendor templates for positioning.
  • Proofs and Samples: Request test prints before mass production.
  • Material Limitations: Be aware of the material constraints.

Pricing Physical Printables Profitably

Q6: How do I price my physical products?

A6: Consider these factors:

  • Product Costs: Base unit costs from the vendor.
  • Materials Premium: Higher prices for premium finishes.
  • Volume Discounts: Offer discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Shipping Costs: Include shipping in the product pricing.
  • Platform Commissions: Account for marketplace fees.
  • Membership Discounts: Provide discounts for loyal customers.

Automating Order Processing

Q7: How can I automate order processing?

A7: Use the following methods:

  • POD Integration: Connect printing platforms to your storefront.
  • Batch Processing: Group orders for efficient processing.
  • Order Confirmations: Send automated order confirmation emails.
  • Shipping Notifications: Sync shipment tracking automatically.
  • Digital Asset Management: Centralize design files for easy access.
  • Payment Deposits: Capture partial payments before production.

Managing Shipping and Logistics

Q8: What are some best practices for managing shipping and logistics?

A8: Implement these strategies:

  • Carrier Selection: Offer affordable and premium shipping options.
  • Packaging: Use custom branded packaging.
  • Return Address: Use addresses close to customers for faster shipping.
  • Insured Shipments: Insure high-value items.
  • Rework Policy: Replace damaged items promptly.
  • International Shipping: Simplify customs forms and use global printing facilities.

Promoting and Selling POD Offerings

Q9: How can I promote my POD products?

A9: Use these marketing strategies:

  • Social Media: Showcase new products on social platforms.
  • Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with relevant influencers.
  • Pinterest: Pin lifestyle images of your products.
  • Retargeting Ads: Use ads to reach previous visitors.
  • Improved Website Photography: Invest in high-quality product photos.
  • Smart Product Listing Copy: Clearly explain the POD process and benefits.

Diversifying Through New POD Products

Q10: How can I expand my POD offerings?

A10: Diversify with:

  • Seasonal Selections: Create designs for holidays and events.
  • Collections: Group products by artistic styles.
  • Product Experiments: Test new products with low-volume runs.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Use analytics to identify bestsellers.
  • Market Research Surveys: Ask for customer feedback.
  • Trend Analysis: Monitor trends for new product opportunities.

Fulfilling Custom One-Off POD Orders

Q11: How do I handle custom POD orders?

A11: Provide personalized services:

  • Customization Options: Allow text, pattern, and photo customization.
  • Limited Edition OC: Offer unique, signed items.
  • Rush Orders: Offer expedited production and shipping for a premium.
  • Volume Requirements: Set minimum order quantities for custom items.
  • Upsells During Ordering: Suggest complementary add-ons.
  • Manage Expectations: Clearly communicate production timelines and variability.

Conclusion

Q12: What are the key takeaways for turning printables into physical products with POD?

A12: Choose the right manufacturing partners, automate order processing and logistics, promote effectively, and diversify offerings over time. With a well-structured workflow, POD can become a lucrative addition to your digital printable shop.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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